Project – Porthcawl Elvis Festival 2017

I travelled to Porthcawl with my partner at the weekend to catch up with a long-time-no-see University friend and to take some photographs of the annual Elvis Festival. It was pretty much all I’d hoped it would be – both the catch up and the plethora of photographic opportunities! I attempted a number of street photography type images…



We also indulged ourselves and attended the ‘Best Elvis’ Impersonator competition at the Grand Pavilion. This was genuine treat as many of the entrants were hugely talented and clearly took the business of being crowned ‘King Elvis’, very seriously.

One of my favourite images was this ‘Waiting in the Wings’ shot.. I thought it encapsulated a bit of the unglamorous back stage reality as well as catching the competitor’s pre performance pensive mood….


For some of the competition images I tried to capture the possibility that Elvis was in fact still breathing and walking among us (note I hadn’t been drinking by this point!) … by shielding the competitors’ faces or showing just elements of the costume etc…

Some shots seemed to work because of the artificial lighting created the right atmosphere…


If I could only make a living out of documenting these types of events, I would not look back. It made me wonder how much my photography to improve to make this current pipe dream a reality…

Exhibition – Great London website

I was rummaging around on the net recently and found a fantastic website which lists on one page, all the photography exhibitions going on in London, including up and coming ones so you can do some planning! What I really like about it is that it lists all the smaller exhibitions which just wouldn’t hit the Time Out radar at all.. Site to link…

exhibitions diary


Myanmar Photography Competition … now for lots of praying…

I’ve bitten the bullet and entered a competition to win a 10 day travel photography ‘scholarship’ to Myanmar – hosted by World Nomads… what an opportunity !


My entry is based on some travel photographs taken in a little fishing village in Cambodia called Kampung Phluk where the houses are built on stilts and neighbours visit each other by boat… well that’s unless climate change has its say and water levels dramatically drop, which is what we witnessed in 2015…

Fingers and everything crossed.. hundreds of entrants on the site already grrrr….  but nothing ventured as they say.

Reflection – What sort of Photographer do I want to be?

I recently attended my nephew’s wedding and took the following shot of one of the bridesmaids..


I received lots of compliments for the image on social media which was of course, nice to receive, but it also prompted me to really start thinking about what I want to do with my photography. Is it going always be a very much loved hobby? Am I enjoying the learning aspect of the OCA courses? Do I actually want to move into attempting to get some sort of an income from my images? I’ve ‘done’ weddings in the past and been encouraged to do more by the fact that I enjoy the interaction, the sense of being part of a happy occasion, etc., but it’s clearly hard work. I can’t currently envisage myself producing photography as ‘art’. Maybe my journey with the OCA might change this viewpoint, but I’ll reflect again in the months and years to come and see where I end up !

Reflection – Technical ability….

Whilst simultaneously feeling euphoric at sending Assignment 5 to my tutor last week, I am also really concerned that I have been so hung up at generating ‘ideas’ for Context and Narrative, that my focus on improving the technical side of my photography has taken a back seat.

‘The Art of Photography’ (TAOP) repeatedly returned to these aspects in many of the exercises and assignments and as part of this reflection, I must admit that I don’t think I’ve made any improvements on this front.  The volume of photographs I have taken over the course of the Context and Narrative module feels much less than for TAOP, with the focus much more on research and reading, I think I just need to get back into the swing of working on improving different technical aspects. I’ve identified the following which I think needs work:-

  •  Sharpness of images – I am naturally a ‘skimmer’ in most things – and so when taking photographs, quantity outweighs the urge to take time and focus on the quality.  I know I’m also prone to keeping aperture large for many images – I like the fact that for portraits it makes the subject stand out. However I often forget to change settings for other types of images I’m taking. I also need to get in the mindset that using a tripod is the default where I’m able to take my time and light may not be quite sufficient to handhold the shot:-
  • Artificial lighting – I need to rig up my studio kit and re-learn how to use it! Now we’ve moved to a bigger house this is definitely a possibility, I just haven’t got around to doing it. I loved the possibilities that artificial lighting gave me when I hired some studio space previously, I just need to take a weekend to get back into that particular zone.
  •  Fill-in flash – I know that many of my shots would improve with the use of this – especially, and including, day time images. I need to understand my flashgun better so it becomes as automatic to use this, as not. Similarly I know that reflectors can be great too – another bit of kit added to the list to start to use more regularly!

Now I’ve made my list I need to get working on it !

Ideas – Elvis Festival Porthcawl

I am currently super excited (despite the 5+ hours drive) to be attending the biggest regular, annual Elvis festival in Europe, taking place in Porthcawl, Wales, next weekend. This festival ‘celebrates’ the memory of Elvis by a gathering of one of the world’s largest number of Elvis impersonators converging in one place… to sing his greatest hits and compete for the title of best ‘Elvis’.

After the festival in 2016, the Daily Mail published some excellent street photography images of the festival from previous years which has given me some real food for thought and ideas of what ‘scenes’ and ‘characters’ to keep an eye open for over the weekend. I particularly love the café location scenes and will most likely be loitering outside these to get some shots:-




The full article can be accessed below:-